The night for the Cardinals started off exactly how manager Tony LaRussa planned, scoring early and often. With a Ryan Ludwick three-run double in the first inning, it seemed as if the Cardinals would gain back-to-back victories to keep in step in the NL Central.
Baseball has a way of changing in an instant as the Marlins rallied back to defeat St. Louis 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Kyle Lohse gained his second consecutive loss by giving up four earned while managing only four-plus innings of work. A large part of that performance had to do with a lengthy rain delay however, with Chris Carpenter suffering setbacks from shoulder pain the Redbirds needed their starter to eat up some innings.
With Adam Wainwright still not expected back until mid-late August, it seems as though Todd Wellemeyer has become the Cardinals' best pitcher in recent weeks.
A scary thought in itself, Wellemeyer has been inconsistent to say the least this year. Showing flashes of brilliance and dominance one outing only to follow it up by a shelling, St. Louis' weakest link was left to clean up the mess.
As unreliable as Wellemeyer has been all year, their bullpen has been worse. However, tonight the bullpen came through but the Redbirds offense did not.
Besides Ludwick's early offense, the Cardinals were shutout the rest of the game. St. Louis' big bats (Pujols, Ankiel, Glaus, and Molina) went for a combined 2-for-14 with two walks and one run scored.
Granted, both of Lohse's losses have come on the heels of two teams in the thick of pennant races. The Dodgers and Marlins are both only a few games out of first place and Lohse had to face them both and was rewarded with a below average offense.
The same cannot be said for St. Louis as they continue to slide down in the rankings. The Cardinals could not take advantage of a postponed game for the Cubs as they regularly take one step forward only to take two steps back.
With this most recent loss the Cardinals now fall to seven games back in the division and three and a half games behind Milwaukee in the Wild Card.